Utility companies, governments, banks – every agency that sends us bills or statements keeps telling us to make it easier for ourselves, save trees, go green, go paperless. Make it easier for whom, save what trees?
I’m going to want a paper copy of those statements anyway. So I’m going to have to print them. So it will be paper I buy instead of paper bought by the sender. Same number of trees die.
It would save those companies and agencies the costs of postage. And if I were promised that those savings would be passed along to consumers in the form of lower rates or rebate, I might do it. I need something to compensate me for the time I would have to spend opening the emails and printing them before I stick them in my file.
Paperless necessities vs. junk paper sprees
I also would need a guarantee that the useless, unwanted, paper-wasting promotions and special offers that I receive in the mail from those selfsame companies and agencies would also stop.
These photographs are of the unsolicited, unwanted, tree- and time-consuming junk that came in my mail and in my newspaper on one day. A letter from Bell telling me about their wonderful internet provider offer. I’ve received hundreds of these from Bell in the past couple years. Each one requires postage, each one contributes to the death of a tree.
Each one of these missives requires me to: 1, open it, 2, remove the plastic window from the envelope, 3, tear off the parts with my name to be put in the shredder and 4, put the rest in the recycling bin. Then I have to bundle all this unwanted crap in a tidy way and put it in the blue bin. So that big polluting trucks can pick it up and take to a recycling facility to do whatever it is they actually do with McDonald’s coupons, pizza offers and letters from Bell Canada.
Notice the magazine in the photo above? It’s Glow, a beauty magazine from Shopper’s Drug Mart. I don’t want it, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t subscribe. I get it free because I have an Optimum card. The card gives me a benefit – points that get me free stuff. The first time I got the magazine – a “gift issue” – I thought, ok, they’re just fishing for subscribers. I won’t get another one. Next month, there it is. Take the hint: if I wanted it, I’d subscribe. I signed up for a points card, not a magazine.
No worry about using paper for promotions
If I wanted new products or services from Bell or Rogers or my bank, I would contact them. I’m already a customer! If Bell, Rogers or my bank wants to save their time and money by not sending me the one piece of paper that I actually need from them – my monthly statement – they can also stop cluttering up my mail box and life with junk I don’t want. And I don’t want emails from them either. I can get rid of emails faster than paper. But I don’t want to clutter my inbox or mind with junk either.
If companies and agencies are concerned about saving trees, condense your statements so that a standard one fits on one sheet of paper. Bell is bad for this; the layout unnecessarily uses 2 double-sided sheets. Also, quit sending junk. That would really save trees.